JD Sports boss says Brexit red tape is costing 'tens of millions'

JD Sports boss says Brexit red tape is costing 'tens of millions'

February 9, 2021

JD Sports boss says Brexit red tape is costing ‘tens of millions’ as he reveals plan to open warehouse with 1,000 jobs in EU

  • JD Sports boss Peter Cowgill said Brexit cost the business ‘double digit millions’
  • He said the business now plans to open a new distribution centre inside the EU
  • The factory, set to employ around 1,000 people, could have been built in the UK

The boss of JD Sport has said shipping delays caused by Brexit red tape is costing ‘millions’.

Peter Cowgill, executive chairman, has said the total disruption in getting goods into mainland Europe has sent costs soaring into the ‘double digit millions’. 

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s World At one, Cowgill said that JD Sport is looking to secure a new distribution site in Europe to help side-step tariffs and disruption. 

JD Sport said that the new warehouse, which will employ around 1,000 members of staff, could have been constructed in the UK but will now remain within the EU following the UK’s exit deal. 

The boss of JD Sport, Peter Cowgill (left) has said shipping delays caused by Brexit red tape is costing ‘millions’

Despite this, no jobs at the company’s UK distribution sites will be affected by the move. 

New trade rules came into force on January 1 after the Government secured a last-minute deal with the EU. 

However, Mr Cowgill said the amount of red tape has been ‘very significant’, slowed down its trade processes and added to costs.

‘They said we have a free-trade arrangement but that’s really not the case,’ he said.

‘If you source from the Far East and bring products to the UK and then ship to stores, the tariffs apply.

‘With the tariffs that apply, it would make a lot of economic sense to have a distribution centre in Europe as well the UK – it would mean the transfer of a number of jobs into Europe.

‘It’s considerably worse than predicted.

‘The implications of it have probably been appreciated after the event and probably not attracted the airtime and publicity that they otherwise would have done because Covid is more serious at present.’

JD Sport said that the new warehouse, which will employ around 1,000 members of staff, could have been constructed in the UK but will now remain within the EU following the UK’s exit deal

Mr Cowgill also warned that an overhaul of business rates and rents are needed for UK high streets to recover.

It comes after 18 retail bosses, including chiefs at Tesco, Asda and Morrisons, called on the Chancellor to reduce rates as part of a shake-up.

‘I think the high streets and shopping centres have got to be repriced,’ Mr Cowgill said.

‘Clearly the accommodation expenses, which have been too high for a long period of time, mean that bricks and mortar stores are uneconomical and unviable.

‘I think we have to have another year’s rates holiday to be honest and then there’s got to be a major reassessment of the cost of rates to the retailer if viability and prosperity is to return to shopping centres and high streets.’ 

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